Tendering process for parliamentary panel questions
ISLAMABAD: The Standing Senate Committee on Privatization raised questions on Monday about the bidding process for the privatization of Hotel Services International, Lahore, and called for further investigation.
The committee, which met with Senator Shamim Afridi under the chairmanship, heard a briefing from the head of the Privatization Commission on the privatization of the hotel. The secretary of the Privatization Commission informed the committee that the privatization of the hotel was in its final stages and that the matter should be submitted to the cabinet for final approval.
The auctions took place as part of an open auction. Two bidders submitted bids for the reserved base price of Rs 1.94 billion. The commission received one bid above the booked base price of Rs 1.95 billion and the other was below the booked price and subsequently did not qualify.
The chairman of the committee questioned officials about the privatization process on how a bid was considered successful when the minimum number of bidders was not there for the auction, to which ministry officials responded that he there was no legal issue regarding the minimum number of bidders in an open auction. Ministry officials said the tender was conducted in accordance with the law with full transparency. Senator Sabir Shah said: “This is commercial property and we believe the booked base price of Rs 1.94 billion is very low.”
The members of the committee felt that the matter should be further explored. The chairman of the committee ordered a letter to be written to the cabinet informing them of the committee members’ reservations on the matter. Discussion on the matter was postponed for resumption at the next committee meeting. The committee reconsidered the bill entitled “The Privatization Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021” proposed by the Minister of Privatization in the Senate sitting on June 23, 2021. Committee members received a detailed briefing from ministry officials on the amendments proposed in the invoice.
Senator Sabir Shah, while expressing his reservations about the bill, said: “Bypassing the cabinet and holding an individual accountable is against the norms. The changes will result in the withdrawal of collective wisdom. If we go ahead with these amendments, it would set a bad precedent. Ministry officials responded that the proposed amendments would not affect the privatization process. “We go to the office three to four times during the entire privatization process. This in no way limits the powers of the cabinet. The word government is mentioned 83 times in the privatization law. We have just decided to replace the word with four places, which will give the Prime Minister the power to make appointments to the Privatization Board. “
According to the existing definition of government and law, we have to turn to the cabinet even for trivial tasks such as opening an account. These amendments aim to remove these bottlenecks, officials of the Ministry of Privatization informed. However, the committee postponed consideration of the bill after due deliberation.
The committee was also informed about the privatization of Pak-China Fertilizer Company, Haripur, KPK regarding its current status, the unpaid amount to be paid to the government, the reasons for the delay of its privatization and the expected date of its operation, government employee status and future plans for said fertilizer company.
The secretary of the Privatization Commission, while informing the members of the committee, stated that “90% of the shares of PCFC have been sold to M / S Schon Group in accordance with the sale agreement dated May 26, 1992, for a total sale price of 456.84 million rupees. Of which 40 percent of the sale price was paid by the buyer in the amount of 182.736 million rupees. The total sale amount pending until August 31, 2021 is 2.8 billion rupees. Numerous disputes are pending regarding the fate of this property. The commission is currently reviewing the case in the High Court in Islamabad. “
Senator Fida Hussain informed the members of the committee of the appalling situation on the land in Haripur of the said property. He lamented the lack of action by ministry officials regarding multiple attempted encroachments and theft of scrap metal worth billions of rupees. He further expressed his dissatisfaction with the plight of employees who still have not received their due compensation even after 30 long years. Senator Sabir Shah also weighed in on the current state of the said property. He said: “It is our duty to protect public property and we will do everything in our power to resolve this issue. “
The chairman of the committee ordered to summon Deputy Commissioner Haripur to the next committee meeting with full details of the current situation on the ground. The committee also deliberated on the idea of setting up a sub-committee to visit the site and observe the alleged mismanagement.